Letter: Inn not compatible with surrounding uses

LowthersLetter: Inn not compatible with surrounding uses

David Lowther
St Augustine, FL

Dear Editor:

I am writing to clarify, for those interested in trying to understand, what is going on with the historic preservation zoning in St Augustine.

HP-1 zoning purpose is to preserve residential historic homes with a few compatible, non-commercial uses allowed by exception.

The proposed use for the former Dow Museum of Historic homes is absolutely not compatible with the surrounding uses. Nightly rentals are at direct odds with the explicit requirement for monthly or longer rentals put in place to protect the residential nature of HP-1 for the residents and the Community.

Land Use: This PUD, proposed by developer David Corneal, undermines HP-1 zoning’s residential requirement which undermines the Historic Preservation land use. No zoning change is required to preserve these properties. Individual property owners throughout the City and HP-1 district maintain their homes without commercial income.

Need and Justification: The request for this PUD is for the maximum profit benefit of the Owner which is not a valid reason for allowing a zoning change. The Application shows no need or justification for the proposed rezoning under any of the six criteria provided in the Ordinance.

Adverse Effect: The finding of “No Adverse Effect” cannot be justified in this situation with its myriad of adverse impacts to the public, community and neighborhood.

To name a few:

  • Generates noise for on-site celebrations and after-party
  • Changes the historic nature of the residential neighborhood
  • Establishes precedent for further erosion of HP-1 zoning
  • Loss of housing in downtown, HP-1
  • Loss of public access to important historic site
  • Unknown changes to the interior of the historic homes
  • Loss of history for future generations
  • Increased solid waste generation, wastewater flows
  • Loss of mature trees resulting in loss of urban forest
  • Nuisance created from tent set up and removal
  • Commercial vehicles and crews in residential neighborhood

Further deterioration of our roads through increased traffic and delivery vehicles raises the question, “Will they propose to re-pave our historic brick roads?”

Rehabilitation and construction work trucks, noise and disruptions to street and sidewalk use throughout the 2-year proposed work period.

This PUD, if approved, intensifies the land use through an increase in vehicle and pedestrian traffic or hotel guests as well as guests attending special events. It creates burden of additional parking to accommodate commercial business patrons. Guests attending special events will compete for on-street parking currently used by residents.

Additional impervious surfaces due to off-site and on-site parking requirements created by PUD.

The PUD proposes 1-parking space per room; but, it does not address the additional parking requirements for guests and special event attendees.

The parking on-site will continue to allow vehicles to back out onto the right-of-way causing safety and traffic concerns for residents and other visitors.

Additional traffic and unwillingness to mitigate Community and City concerns by closing off access on St George Street and Bridge Street.

No definitive details are provided concerning the other parking within 400-feet, or beyond.

Allowing a hotel in a quiet residential neighborhood goes against our zoning laws and is wrong for St. Augustine.

Share your thoughts with our readers >>